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Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks

Earlier today, we asked our Black Mail Readers:  Which NAACP staffer investigated and rallied the black community of Alabama in opposition to sexual assault committed against black women?  The answer is “B”-Rosa Parks. 

Though she is known for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery Alabama bus  launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Ms. Parks was also a field secretary for the NAACP in Montgomery.  In this role she investigated and advocated for victims of sexual assault.  Parks herself was the victim of an attempted sexual assault.  A white man who employed her as a housekeeper attempted to rape her in 1931. Below is an excerpt from a document handwritten by Parks detailing the attempted assault.

Excerpt of document detailing attempted rape of Rosa Parks in 1931
Excerpt of document detailing attempted rape of Rosa Parks in 1931

One case in particular championed by Parks in work with the NAACP was the rape of Recy Taylor.  In 1944, Recy Taylor was gang raped by 7 white men.  Though the men admitted to the crime, they were never indicted or brought to trial.  In her role with the NAACP, Rosa Parks rallied the local community and tried to seek justice on behalf of Recy Taylor.  Taylor is still alive.  There is no statute of limitations on rape cases in Alabama.  So her attackers (if they are still alive)  could still be brought to trial.  Recy Taylor’s experience as well as that of other victims was highlighted in the book, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – “A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power” by Danielle McGuire. 

 In those days, though many black victims sought justice very few received it.  I have personally read this book and it really brings to light the heroism and bravery of the black women were victims of sexual assault and the brave women and men who risked their lives and personal safety to seek justice on behalf of sexual assault victims.

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